Calheta Beach is one of the top sandy beaches on Madeira Island. While it isn’t as spectacular as some of the more picturesque beaches you will find on the island, its soft sand and ease of accessibility make it a popular choice for vacationers, tourists, and locals of the Calheta region. It’s a very family-friendly vibe at this beach where you can set up for a few hours with the option to rent an umbrella or sunbed as you enjoy the warm Portuguese sunshine.
TOP 3 PLACES TO STAY IN MADEIRA
WHERE IS CALHETA BEACH
Calheta Beach is located on the south coast of Madeira Island. It’s about a 35-minute drive from Funchal but most of the visitors to Calheta Beach are actually staying in the town of Calheta. It isn’t the most scenic beach on Madeira Island but it is one of the few sandy beaches and is surrounded by a few hotels and resorts for that very reason.
There is lots of paid parking on the street near the beach or you can park inside the grocery store for a small fee. If you buy something from the grocery store your parking will be subsidized.
CALHETA BEACH MAP
I’ve pinned the exact location of Calheta Beach on the map below. You can see, it isn’t so far from Funchal via car.
CALHETA BEACH WEATHER & WEBCAM
Calheta is known for being on the sunny side of the island. This means that wherever you are on the island and no matter how cloudy, windy, or rough the weather is, you can expect a good chance that the weather is sunny in Calheta. I stayed in Calheta for five weeks in August and September and throughout that time there were probably only a handful of days that would have been completely overcast or raining.
However, if you are still unsure you can check the webcam. While the ‘Calheta Webcam’ currently appears to be unavailable, if you check the Ponta do Sol Webcam, you will get a good idea of what that coastline is currently looking like. Ponta do Sol is just a couple of beaches down the coast and usually shares the same weather as Calheta Beach.
WHAT IS CALHETA BEACH LIKE?
Calheta is one of the most highly-rated regions to stay in Madeira. This is because it is situated in one of the sunniest parts of the island. When other parts of Madeira are battling clouds, wind, and rain, Calheta can often be shining golden with beachgoers enjoying stunning weather.
As you might have noticed, Calheta Beach isn’t completely natural. The cement blocks act as a barrier, there are shark nets attached in the gap of the wall to keep swimmers safe and even the sand is imported. It has really been created for the residents and visitors of Calheta so that they have a sandy beach to enjoy. Because Madeira is a volcanic island, many of the beaches are stone or pebble surfaces. At Calheta Beach, you can lay down your towel and enjoy some soft sand.
You will find attendants at the beach who rent out sunbeds and umbrellas. It’s a very chill vibe and unlike many places in Europe, there is no pressure to pay for anything. I always just took my towel and laid on the sand enjoying the beach without a need to pay but many people use an umbrella as the sun can get blisteringly hot during the middle of the day.
There’s a great little cafe next to the beach which serves coffee for less than one Euro and all sorts of food. The fruit platter was great and you can still expect pretty cheap prices despite it being the only cafe at the beach. They play music all day and the WiFi reaches down the beach so if you want to use your phone while chilling just make sure you connect when you buy something at the cafe and then you can use the internet all day.
There are actually two ends to Calheta Beach. It kind of looks like a giant ship when you see the shape from above. At one end is just the cafe and the beach and at the other end, it is a bit more built up. Several restaurants sit next to the giant Calheta Beach Resort – Savoy Signature. Here you have a swimming pool and beachfront accommodation with direct access to that end of Calheta Beach. It would be a great base for exploring Madeira as you always have a pool and a beach right at your fingertips. You are also right next to the marina, which is a nice place for a walk, especially during sunset.
SWIMMING AND SNORKELING AT CALHETA BEACH
Swimming at Calheta Beach is great with the water being cold enough to refresh you from the hot sun but also not too cold that you don’t want to swim. I really enjoyed the temperature here. Because it is an enclosed swimming area and the barriers are stopping any waves, Calheta Beach is a really safe place to swim. It’s actually quite long so you can even do laps from one end to the other in pretty flat, protected water, which is often hard to come by for swimmers.
It’s a very family-friendly beach with lifeguards and a good atmosphere. Most people are comfortable leaving their belongings while swimming but do so at your own risk. I always left them on the beach but kept an eye on them while cooling off.
COMMON QUESTIONS ABOUT CALHETA BEACH
- What makes Calheta Beach unique compared to other beaches in Madeira? Calheta Beach is a unique destination in Madeira due to its exceptional features. The golden sand, which is not commonly found in Madeira, sets it apart from other beaches. Moreover, Calheta Beach is located in a sheltered bay, which creates a calm and relaxing environment perfect for swimming and sunbathing.
- Are there any water sports available at Calheta Beach? If you’re looking for adventure, there are plenty of water sports available at Calheta Beach, including jet skiing, parasailing, and paddleboarding. You can also take a boat tour and explore the stunning coastline from a different perspective.
- Is there a promenade or boardwalk at Calheta Beach? Calheta Beach also boasts a picturesque promenade that runs along the beach. Here, visitors can enjoy breathtaking views of the ocean and surrounding hillsides while strolling along the walkway. You can also find several restaurants and cafes to stop at along the promenade, where you can indulge in delicious cuisine while taking in the beautiful scenery.
- Are there any nearby hiking trails or nature walks that visitors can explore? For nature lovers, there are several hiking trails and nature walks located near Calheta Beach. The Levada das Rabaças and Levada do Alecrim trails are two popular options that offer incredible views of the natural landscapes.
- Is Calheta Beach suitable for families with young children? If you’re traveling with young children, Calheta Beach is an ideal destination. The designated swimming area has calm waters that are perfect for young ones to splash around in. Additionally, there is a playground located near the beach and several family-friendly restaurants to choose from.
I hope you enjoyed this guide about Calheta Beach on Madeira Island.
WONDERING ABOUT WHERE TO STAY ON MADEIRA?
Throughout my six months on Madeira Island, I stayed in multiple accommodations. My favorite regions to stay in were Funchal and Canico de Baixo. I’ve created several guides to help you find the right region for you and a great hotel or apartment.
- The ultimate guide: WHERE TO STAY ON MADEIRA: WHICH REGION IS RIGHT FOR YOU?
- If you want luxury: BEST 5-STAR LUXURY HOTELS ON MADEIRA ISLAND
- To feel at home: TOP 10 BOUTIQUE HOTELS ON MADEIRA ISLAND
- If you want to base in Funchal: WHERE TO STAY IN FUNCHAL: 15 TOP-RATED HOTELS
HAVE YOU READ MY OTHER MADEIRA BLOGS?
I spent six months exploring Madeira and the nearby island of Porto Santo. These are some of my most popular guides about the region that you may be interested in.
- My favorite hikes: 65 AWESOME HIKES ON MADEIRA
- My favorite levada walks: 25 BEAUTIFUL LEVADA WALKS ON MADEIRA
- The best waterfalls on the island: 25 EPIC WATERFALLS ON MADEIRA
- Guide to the best Accommodation: WHERE TO STAY ON MADEIRA
- Hardest hike: THE MADEIRA ISLAND ULTRA TRAIL IN 4 DAYS (115KM)
- Longest hike: CAMINHO REAL 23: MADEIRA’S ROYAL PATH (180KM)